Monday, March 28, 2011

Good People Come From Bowling Green, Kentucky

Rand Paul with Jack Hunter. The Tea Party Goes to Washington. Nashville: Center Street, 2011.

Rand Paul, elected to the U.S. Senate from Kentucky in 2010, attributes his victory to voter discontent over government. He believes the voters want changes to the Federal government status quo. He campaigned against Federal government spending which has created a $13 trillion debt. Paul criticizes spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and opposed the Federal health care plan.

The authors believe the role of government is “to protect our liberties” and not to provide economic protections. He sees the Tea Party movement as a protest against the taxes supporting government programs. There is no formal Tea Party structure, but the term symbolizes disenchanted voters.

Rand Paul’s father Ron was one of just four members of Congress to support Ronald Reagan for President in 1976. Rand Paul notes that while President Reagan increased military spending due to the Cold War threat that this need for high military spending no longer exists. He also questions why military spending is greater now than during the Cold War.

President George W. Bush spent more money than most other Presidents. The authors believe Republicans should not be afraid to criticize other Republicans, especially when they are “big government conservatives”.

Senator Jim Bunning supported “pay as you go”, a rule the Senate had adopted. He voted against legislation for unemployment compensation benefits because he felt it violated this rule. Bunning’s fellow Kentucky Senator, Mitch McConnell, did not like Bunning’s philosophy and wanted Bunning out of the Senate. Bunning could not raise enough money to run for reelection and he chose not to run. Paul defended Bunning and ran for the seat. Dick Cheney and Rick Santorum endorsed his opponent, Trey Grayson. Sarah Palin, Sen. Jim DeMint, and Bunning endorsed Paul.

Paul met with Mitch McConnell and assured him that he would not critical but would be complimentary towards McConnnell. McConnell stated he would stay out of the primary.

Paul believes the government has taken away too many property rights. He opposes the Supreme Court decision allowing the government to use eminent domain to increase revenues to government.

The authors argue there is nothing in the Constitution to require people to purchase health care or to have education decided by the federal Education Department. They note increased spending on education has not improved students’ test scores.

The Federal government has at least 263 organizations spending at least $75 billion annually on terrorism issues. The Homeland Security Department will become the third largest Federal Department behind Defense and Veterans Affairs. 30,000 people monitor phone calls. Yet none of this prevented the Fort Hood shootings or the underwear bomber attempt.

The arms industry is enormous, the authors note the Defense Department is our largest employer with 1.4 million on its payroll.

The authors argue there are similarities between Trotskyism and neo-conservatism in that both seek to export social democracy to other countries through military means.

The wisdom of occupying a country is questioned. It does not stop terrorist groups and it may even encourage terrorism. Islamic ideology has not changed over decades. What has changed is that American military occupation makes us a target.

There are 1,000 American soldiers per al Qaeda fighter. Yet the military is not effective in fighting al Qaeda. The U.S. builds schools and then bribes the Taliban not to blow them up. The Taliban then use this money on arms against the U.S. military.

As President Jefferson did in fighting the Barbary pirates, it might make more sense, according to the authors, to hire contractors to deal with terrorists rather than attempting to fight them with a conventional war.

Rand Paul is worried that government intervention is disrupting the economy. He notes with alarm there are few controls over Federal Reserve Bank actions. He believes more free market systems in health care would lower costs.

The authors note the dollar’s value had declined 96% since 1913, when it was backed by gold. It is now backed by borrowing.

Rand Paul seeks to balance the budget, require legislation to be printed with time for members of Congress to read it, and that the Federal Reserve Bank should be audited.


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